- Domestic and international adoption scandals: children targeted for adoption, mothers coerced into surrendering, adoptive parents duped into a false sense of security about the adoption process
- Situations like Haiti, where crises are used to exploit children and families
- Sealed adoption records, the myth of birth parent “privacy”, the discrimination faced by adult adoptees and their mothers, and the facade of compromise legislation
- The lure of open adoption, which is rarely enforcable by the birth mother
- “Crisis pregnancy centers” which are often fronts for adoption mills
- Misinformation about the long-term effects of adoption, especially for transracial and transcultural adoptees
- The general public’s lack of understanding about adoption, which is promulgated by the adoption industry so clandestine and questionable practices can continue. Part of this is driven by media bias in adoption reporting, which leads me into…
- GET ADOPTION OFF TELEVISION. I have to wonder why there isn’t legal protection for minors exploited on television (think Jon & Kate or Balloon Boy). I think about these kids whose adoption stories are being told on TV (e.g. Teen Mom, 16 And Pregnant) before they even have a chance to know for themselves. Can you imagine how devastating that will be for them? It’s one thing to have consenting adults on these shows but something far different when we’re talking about babies and children. And even when it’s consenting adults, the information is almost always skewed. Let’s face it, reality shows and made-for-TV movies are not solid journalism, but most people base their ideas about adoption from them.
- Bastard Nation Statement On Haitian Adoption And “Babylifts”
- Baby Love Child: Haiti, And The Constant Drumbeat Of The Demand For Children
- Family Preservation: Haitian Adoptions: U.S. Caves To Demands
- Outlandish Remarks: Whites Make Pact With God, Expedite Haitian Adoptions
- Improper Adoptee: The Media: Exploiting Adoptees and Birth Mothers Should Never Be Unexpected….Part I of IV
- Bastardette: Find My Family Redux
- Also from Bastardette, adoptee rights comments needed: SOS! NYT And ABC Forums Need Bastard Rescue
- BB Church: Washington Post Reviews Reunion Porn
- sarahpark.com: ABC’s Find My Family Show
- Also from sarahpark.com: NPR Reports “Most Adopted Children Are Happy” (as reported by adoptive parents, anyway)
- FirstMotherForum: High Marks For Find My Family
- Also from FirstMotherForum: Adopted People Are Not Allowed Ancestry Because It Might Upset Somebody (includes links to media articles that need adoptee input)
- Musings Of The Lame: A Birthmother’s Perspective On ABC’s Find My Family
- AdoptedCricket: Triggered
Adoption is not a reality TV show. It is painfully real for those of us who experience it. I suggest you revise the show to highlight the denial of adult adoptees’ civil rights. This is a different matter than search and reunion, although the two are often conflated by the adoption industry and, in turn, the media and the public. Every day adult adoptees are denied driver’s licenses, passports, and other basics of citizenship because our original birth certificates are sealed in most states. We are forced to pay excessive fees only to find information is missing or mysteriously unavailable. Post-adoption “services” like registries and intermediaries have become yet another way for agencies and individuals to profit from adoption. That would be a far better topic upon which to shine your cameras than someone’s private reunion.
Promote laws, policies and practices that facilitate access to information for adopted individuals. For adopted individuals, gaining information about their origins is not just a matter of curiosity, but a matter of gaining the raw materials needed to fill in the missing pieces in their lives and derive an integrated sense of self. Both adoption professionals and the larger society need to recognize this basic human need and right, and to facilitate access to needed information for adopted individuals.
Adoption is an increasingly significant aspect of identity for adopted people as they age, and remains so even when they are adults.
THE PSYCHO BIRTH MOTHERStrength: LimitlessIntelligence: QuestionableCharisma: 18 (+30 to News Media)Weapon: +10 Glaive Of VictimizationArmor: Shield Of Anti-ReflectionWhen confronted with the Stalker Adoptee, the Birth Mother Promised Confidentiality morphs into the Psycho Birth Mother. Not only has she never regretted her decision, she’s the one being victimized and wants only to maintain her privacy, which is why she touts her story to any News Media she can find. Her siren call is: “Don’t open the records! It’ll destroy women like me!” Ignoring her sister birth mothers, who may actually (horrors!) desire and seek contact with their offspring, she hides in plain sight, turning any adoptees who cross her path back into Perpetual Children. The Psycho Birth Mother refuses to look at herself in a mirror, because deep down she knows what she’s doing is wrong.
Katherine Heigl is adopting a child because she’s “done with the whole idea of having my own children.”
“I wanted to tell everybody so you don’t think I stole a Korean baby,” she said, laughing.
She’s getting a lot of sympathy in the press for adopting a child with medical issues. Okay, I get that, nice humanitarian effort and all. BUT, baby selling is not a laughing matter. It is devastating to adoptees and birth families alike. And there is too much of a “rescuer” mentality here for my liking, as if she is trying to garner sympathy for being so big-hearted as to adopt a special-needs child. Is she going to give up her career to be available 24/7 to this child? Could she have accomplished the same thing by adopting, say, a 15 year old African-American boy, someone who is not as malleable as an infant?
I understand Heigl’s character on Gray’s Anatomy was a birth mom. I can’t speak to that because my TV watching consists almost exclusively of science fiction (why bother with mainstream stuff when I’m busy plowing through the entirety of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys? Mmm.. Kevin Sorbo…) But I can tell you about Heigl’s show from a few years back, Roswell, in which she played a half human/half alien hybrid whom–ahem!–had no access to her origins. In other words, the epitome of the sealed-records adoptee.
Let me quote some of Heigl’s dialogue from the season 2 episode, “Surprise”. In this scene Heigl’s character Isabel has returned to her place of origin, the pod chamber where she and the other three human/alien hybrids awoke. She’s just been through a really traumatic experience on her birthday, no less, and she begins a monologue to her birth mother.
Happy birthday, Isabel. I’m 18 today, Mother. October 25th, at least that’s the day we’ve always celebrated as my birthday, but you’re the only one who really knows the real day. I guess that’s why I came to the only place I’ve ever seen you. I loved that day, but you disappeared and the picture of you is already fading and it’s all I had. I was so happy because you were beautiful and warm and I even though I looked like you. But it wasn’t you, not really. I don’t know what you look like. Maybe I’ll never know. It isn’t fair, I need you! Where are you? God, it’s my birthday, we should be together! How could you leave us? How could you tell us that important information about destinies and saving the world and then just disappear… answer me!
I can’t watch that scene without crying because it pretty much sums up exactly what I’d like to ask my own mother every year on my own birthday.
I wonder if Heigl has equated this with her own adoption efforts. For her new daughter’s sake, I hope she has. To watch Roswell is to gain a greater understanding of how much it sucks sometimes to be adopted, how much it especially sucks not knowing where you are from, who your people are, and what your history is… and what lengths others are willing to go through to keep you from knowing.
What is it with advice columnists? I realize they’re primarily for entertainment value (and yeah, I read them, which is why I came across this). But seriously, if they are going to put themselves in a position of helping people then they should, um, HELP people.
Dear Abby published the following this week in her syndicated column:
DEAR ABBY: For 15 years I was a happily married homemaker with a wonderful husband. “Duncan” and I attended church together, frolicked through the fields, even exterminated rodents together. He was my best friend. It was bliss.
Last year I found out my father had had an affair with Duncan’s mother the year I was born, which makes him my half-brother! The news was too much for my husband. He had a fatal heart attack not long after. What should I put on his gravestone: “Loving Brother” or “Loving Husband”?
Grieving in Massachusetts
DEAR GRIEVING: Neither. How about “He was ‘Everything’ to me”? That should about cover it.
Instead of giving a flip answer designed to activate the sitcom-esque laugh track, Dear Abby (penned by the original Abby’s daughter Jeanne Phillips) could have done some public good by taking the adoption industry to task for putting people in situations like this.
If we had open records–if every adoptee had the same access to their original birth certificates as the non-adopted, if birth mothers had free and clear access to all paperwork involved with their surrender–then families would be less able to lie about these things and people would not have to suffer the way this person clearly is.
Instead, our trauma is the punchline of a joke in the comics section. Add that to the list of things I wish I’d known before I was adopted.
If you want to write to Dear Abby and express your outrage:
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, a k a Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
In my previous post about excellent adoption articles, I can’t believe I forgot this one, which is the most accurate public smackdown of the adoption industry I’ve seen in a long while, if ever.
For a corollary, check out Divine Caroline:
And here’s another good article, which is about the addiction many adoption specialists and mental health practictioners have these days to so-called “attachment disorder”, which I think I’ll call DWA (“Driving While Adopted”).